Microsoft may have shelved the Xbox Windows Phone Deal of the Week program for the remainder of the year, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any more sales on Xbox games. Similar to the Black Friday week sales last month, the big MS has just kicked off a major sale on Xbox Live games for Windows Phone and Xbox 360. Yes, the Countdown to 2013 sale (sequel to last year’s Countdown to 2012 sale) has already begun! As a special treat for console owners, you'll be able to get two free XBLA games during the countdown.
Xbox Windows Phone Sales
There are six Xbox Windows Phone games on sale this time, just like this year’s Black Friday sale and double the selection of last year’s sale. The sale prices are valid from now until December 31 – no daily sales for Windows Phone. That said, WP sale prices often take one or more days to show up for some users, so keep checking back until you see the sale price.
This marks the first time Chillingo’s lovely physics puzzle game has gone on sale. The object is to direct the Tentacles-looking protagonist Petit to the safety of each level’s exit. The catch is players don’t control the creature directly. To help the little guy avoid a small death, you’ll tap to drag and reshape the landscape, rolling him around. Use pulleys and other environmental gadgets (slingshots, tentacles, portals, blows, and more) to move Petit past a variety of environmental puzzles.
Game House’s seminal endless jumping game has been on sale a few times before, but new Windows Phone users will certainly want to give it a look. Doodle Jump is the progenitor of the jumping game subgenre. Players control the Doodler by tilting the phone. He’s always jumping, so you only need to worry about where you’re going to land, collecting power-ups, and tapping enemies to kill them. Unfortunately, Game House never released a promised update with new themes (levels), so the Windows Phone version lags far, far behind the iOS and Android games.
geoDefense Swarm has only gone on sale once before. Swarm is the semi-sequel/spin-off to geoDefense. The key difference here is that enemies no longer travel along straight lines towards the player’s base. Instead, the entire playing field is made up of hexagons. Enemies can move anywhere along it, and players can put towers on most of those spaces.
However, it often happens that only one or two defenses will actually work, greatly reducing players’ freedom. As a result, Swarm is more challenging than its predecessor, and the difficulty of levels is still all over the place. But if you don’t mind the uneven difficulty, it’s still an appealing tower defense game.
Miniclip’s snowboarding game has never gone on sale before. Its gameplay involves steeingr a snowboarder around 2D courses, collecting stars and trying to earn high scores. Your border will have to survive crazy loops, buzzsaws, gravity portals, and other hazards in order to reach the finish line. Steering is as simple as tilting the phone to adjust the board’s position, while swiping down on the screen crouches and swiping up jumps. Later levels require copious memorization and retries in order to grab all the collectibles, making the game and its Achievements harder than I’d like. But it’s lots of fun till the difficulty ratchets up.
Kinectimals has only gone on sale once before. It’s the portable version of Frontier Software and Microsoft’s feline-themed Kinect game. Players can choose one of five kitties or import an existing cat from the 360 version using the phone’s camera. Then it’s time to teach your kitty tricks by performing swiping motions, play catch, complete challenges, and buy lots of accessories. There’s not much depth here, but the kitties are cute and the Achievements are super easy.
Mush was just on sale during Black Friday week, but for $1.99 instead of 99 cents. Angry Mango’s first WP title is a bright and original platformer that plays a bit differently from the norm. The main character gains unique abilities based on his emotions. Draw a smile and becomes so elated that he floats; make him frown and he sinks way down low. By switching emotions as necessary, you’ll help Mush solve puzzles and win a game of hide-and-seek with his friends. Besides the creative emotion mechanic, Mush also boasts a beautiful and appealing art style. It’s kind of short and easy, but so pretty you probably won’t mind.
Xbox 360 Sales
Kinect Party is free until the end of the year and insanely fun.
Just like with Black Friday, the Xbox 360 sales on offer dwarf the Windows Phone offerings. To be fair, the 360 has been around far longer and has far more games and items to choose from. The following games and expansions are on sale for 25-75 percent off and will remain so until the end of the year.
Games on sale:
- A World of Keflings - 400 MS Points – 2 DLCs on sale for 160 Points
- Bully: Scholarship Edition - US price: 800 MS Points ($9.99) - UK price: 1080 MSPoints (£8.99)
- Fire Pro Wrestling - 400 MS Points
- Frogger Hyper Arcade Edition - 400 MS Points
- Jet Set Radio - 400 MS Points – Our impressions
- Joe Danger 2 The Movie - 400 MS Points
- Kinect Party (sequel to Double Fine Happy Action Theater) – Free through December 31st! Make sure you grab the DLC unlock, which is only free during the sale.
- Peggle - 400 MS Points - "Peggle Nights" DLC - 200 MSP
- Plants vs. Zombies - 600 MS Points – Windows Phone version review
- RAW (Realms of Ancient War) - 400 MS Points. An almost universally reviled game.
- Rock Band 3 - US price: 800 MS Points ($9.99) - UK price: 1080 MSPoints (£8.99)
- Sonic 4 Episode II - 600 MS Points – Our impressions
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2 - 160 MS Points
- Super Meat Boy - 600 MS Points
- The Simpsons Arcade Game - 600 MS Points – My review
- Wreckateer - 200 MS Points – Our Wreckateer interview
- Zuma's Revenge! - 400 MS Points - Our impressions – Our developer interview
Daily Sale Schedule:
- Tuesday, December 18th: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and DLC
- Wednesday, December 19th: LEGO games (these are live right now!)
- Thursday, December 20th: Platformer games. Includes Hell Yeah! and Sonic Adventure 2!
- Friday, December 21st: Games from Rockstar, including Read Dead Redemption
- Saturday, December 22nd: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games (rumored)
- Sunday, December 23rd: Summer of Arcade 2012 games. Make sure you buy Dust!
- Monday, December 24th: Trials Evolution and Trials HD
- Tuesday, Christmas: Kinect and Family games. Includes Fruit Ninja Kinect. Also, The Walking Dead: Episode 1 will be free from December 25-31!
- Wednesday, December 26th: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (rumored)
- Thursday, December 27th: Borderlands games and DLC. I’m so hooked on Borderlands right now.
- Friday, December 28th: The Walking Dead Episodes on sale
- Saturday, December 29th: More Family games
- Sunday, December 30th: Fighting games!
- Monday, December 31st: Elder Scrolls games and DLC
Which Windows Phone and Xbox 360 games going on sale are you excited for, loyal readers?